Social media companies lose legal shield over posts by users | India News

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NEW DELHI: Large social-media companies such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, and WhatsApp lose legal protection for the user content posted on their platforms from today, and stand answerable to Indian civil and criminal laws just like any other ordinary citizen or local entity.
Till yesterday, they enjoyed immunity when it came to the content posted by any third-party user on their platforms. The only obligation on them was to take down any illegal content that they noticed on their own, or when it was highlighted to them by the state, or the courts, or any responsible/aggrieved party. Now it’s a civil and criminal liability on them for any illegal post, be it in words, or a picture or a video.
The companies, clearly unnerved by the new rules for large social-media intermediaries—that were announced on February 25 this year — may opt for a legal challenge to protect their officials as well as operations in India, in case the government does not grant an extension in implementation of the norms (they were given three months to prepare for the new regime).
“However, a constructive dialogue with the government still remains to be the first choice, and any decision to approach the courts comes in only later,” company officials told TOI, on condition of anonymity. However, the stiff stand taken by the government in recent months related to the content posted on social media platforms (some related to posts around farmers protests and around seemingly inept handling of second wave of Covid) leaves the companies very vulnerable to legal action, analysts say.



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